Curriculum Overview and Background


Cooking for Crowds was designed to be used with non-profit audiences that cook food for the public as part of food fundraisers. Although the target audiences traditionally do not have professional training in cooking large volumes of food for the public or access to commercial foodservice equipment, they do take great pride in serving their customers terrific tasting food.

This curriculum was designed to show non-profit groups the food safety risks that develop when cooking large volumes of food and how to reduce those risks so that the food the group prepares is both safe and delicious. Although many of the food safety strategies recommended are similar to those recommended to commercial food establishments, the strategies have been translated into practical methods to meet the specific needs of non-profit audiences.

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum consists of a participant manual which can be purchased through the Penn State College of Agricultural Science Publication Office or it can be downloaded from this website. All other curriculum tools including instructor resources, marketing materials, powerpoint presentations, certificate, evaluation tools, and additional resources are web-based and may be downloaded free of charge from this website.

Time and Temperature Guidelines

All times and temperatures recommended throughout the curriculum are based on United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) consumer temperature guidelines.

Temperatures used for holding cold and hot foods are 40°F and 140°F, respectively. Time used for holding potentially hazardous foods between 40°F and 140°F is two hours.

Due to the impracticality of cooling large volumes of food using the USDA consumer temperature guidelines, recommendations for cooling foods are based on the Food and Drug Administration’s 2001 Food Code two-stage cooling method-- cool cooked foods from 140°F to 70°F within two hours and from 70°F to 40°F or lower in an additional four hours, for a total cooling time of six hours.

Software Needed to Download Curriculum Tools

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0
  • Microsoft Powerpoint
  • Microsoft Word or other word processors that read .rtf files

Usage Guidelines

All parts of the curriculum may be downloaded from this website free of charge. The time and hard work of many people were necessary to develop the curriculum. Please give proper acknowledgment to Penn State University if incorporating the Cooking for Crowds curriculum tools into your own trainings.